It was 1987 and my daughters were 13 and 14. We had stopped in to see my Grandmother Opal, who lived in a retirement high rise in Colorado Springs. She was 93 years old and still living independently in a facility where she had outlived every person who had been there when she moved in. I could write a chapter on Opal, but let me sum up her life by this brief bio: she graduated from what is now the University of Northern Colorado in 1912, in the first class that allowed women to go to college. She was an independent business woman who was very successful and generous. Her very first teaching job was at Blanco Basin, Colorado, where she ran a one-room school for two years. She went around the world in 1960 and as part of the trip, was invited to Tea with Queen Elizabeth II. So my girls were listening to her tell stories and she looks at them and says; “You young women are living in a world I only dreamed of. You can do anything you dream of. Remember, there is nothing more important than your education. It can never be taken from you. Do not depend on a man to make you happy. Don’t blow it!” They listened and acted.
All of this about Opal was to lay the background for these two rides I had today. I began driving after a lazy morning and my first ride was from a duplex near Wash Park. She came out carrying a small backpack. I was not expecting that we would head to DIA. We began the 30 minute ride to the airport and she asked me where I was from. “I am from Pueblo, which is 110 miles south of here.” “I know, I am from Canon City.” ( a mid-sized community about 40 miles from Pueblo.) As she began to tell me her story I realized she was pretty remarkable. She went to Colorado School of Mines and is a an accomplished engineer. She asked about my kids and of course I loved talking about them and how proud I am of them, and I was able to add in my grandkids too! We talked about living in a world where a female could be an engineer, or the Senior Pastor of FCC Portland, or an Educator in L.A., or a 21 year old accounting major who just graduated from the University of New Mexico in three years. I celebrated an eight year old grand daughter in Portland who out ran every kid in her class in a fundraiser for kids that need extra help. The ride went very quickly and when she got out she headed off for a weekend in Nashville. As she got out of the car her smiled radiated. “You started my day off in style.” “Ditto” she replied.
Thirty seconds later I picked up Phil who had just flown in from the Bay Area. In Lyft driving world it does not get any better, as far as the money is concerned. Phil was about 50 years old and he was wearing a green Dartmouth Rugby jacket. It turns out that his daughter is in Denver for a college women’s rugby tournament. I asked him where he went to college and he shared that he did not, that he was a general contractor who builds some pretty amazing stuff. Then he began to tell me a story of his daughter, who is truly a remarkable young woman that is loving her Ivy League experience, for reasons that lifted my heart. One story he told me is that she volunteers in the summer with Native youth. I don’t feel I have the right to share some of the very special details he shared about her. Let me put it this way; if she offered an IPO, I would buy stock. We concluded our trip with a nice conversation in the drop off lane of the Tech Center Hotel. We both agreed that we love living in a world that my Grandmother Opal dreamed of. GO GIRLS!!!
Onward and Upward,